C 2003/INF/6


Thirty-second Session

Rome, 29 November – 10 December 2003

(2002 AND 2003)

1. The FAO Conference, at its Fourteenth Session (November 1967), decided that in recognition of former Director-General Mr B.R. Sen’s role in transforming FAO from a study organization to a development agency, a “B.R. Sen Award” be established for presentation at the beginning of each regular session of the Conference. The Council, at its Fifty-first Session (October 1968), ratified the proposal that a yearly award be given to the field officer who had made the most outstanding contribution to the advancement of the country or countries to which he or she had been assigned, in particular in the fields of sustainable agricultural and rural development or food security.

2. Any FAO field officer who has served under any of the programmes operated by FAO during the year for which the Award is made, is eligible for nomination.

3. The Award recipient is entitled to:

4. Prior to the Conference, the B.R. Sen Award Selection Committee, chaired by the Director-General, and comprising the Independent Chairman of the Council and the Chairpersons of the Programme and Finance Committees, makes a final decision on the basis of the shortlists submitted by the inter-departmental Screening Committee1, supplemented by the endorsements received from the Governments where the nominees are serving or have served.

5. The Awards for 2002 and 2003 will be presented during a special ceremony, at the beginning of the Thirty-second Session of the FAO Conference. For 2002, the recipient of the Award is Mr Narendra Singh Tunwar from India, and for 2003, the recipient is Mr James William Everts from the Netherlands. Brief notes on the two Award winners and their achievements follow..

Mr Narendra Singh TUNWAR

1. Mr Narendra Singh Tunwar was born on 2 August 1942 in India. He holds a Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree in Agronomy and a Postgraduate diploma in Seed Technology from Massey University in New Zealand.

2. Prior to joining FAO, Mr Tunwar served for 14 years as Seed Offficer with the National Seed Corporation in India. He was subsequently designated Deputy Commissioner and Secretary of the Central Seed Certification Board in India, positions he held from 1979 through 1992.

3. In 1991, Mr Tunwar joined FAO and served as Chief Technical Adviser/Senior Technical Adviser on several UNDP-funded projects:

He is presently Senior Technical Adviser for project GCP/AFG/018/EC - Strengthening National Seed Production Capacity, and Chief Technical Adviser of project GCP/AFG/025/GER - Development of a Sustainable Seed Programme in Southern Afghanistan.

4. Mr Tunwar has worked over a decade under trying and difficult conditions in Afghanistan to train and build a cadre of dedicated national staff (over 50 national professional officers). In 2002 his work resulted in the production, by the project and its implementing partners, of more than 10 000 metric tons of Quality declared seed (QDS) for internal use. These seeds were produced from the 27 improved seed varieties/lines of outstanding quality that had been established by the project, 15 of which for wheat.

5. Prior to the arrival of Mr Tunwar, the seed sector of Afghanistan was in need of development. Mr Tunwar is responsible for setting up, with the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, the Improved Seed Enterprise (ISE). This parastatal organization was created to produce outstanding local varieties of wheat seed, which are in demand today by farmers. More than five seed units are functioning in the country and others are being established. This has permitted the ISE to coordinate seed production activities and to accumulate more than US$ 4 million from the proceeds of the sale of seed under the Fund Management Committee (FMC). The FMC was initiated by Mr. Tunwar to ensure transparency of financial transactions and oversee the proper utilization of proceeds generated from the sale of seeds and fertilizer under the project. In addition, this led to the expansion of the seed programme and the purchase of needed equipment. Mr Tunwar also laid the foundation for the preparation of a national seeds policy, seeds legislation and a seeds act.

6. Other accomplishments include the following:

7. Mr Tunwar’s understanding of the problems of agricultural development in Afghanistan, and his ingenuity in finding solutions to diffficult situations have earned the respect and admiration of his colleagues, both from within and outside government circles. His achievement in facilitating the screening of more than 1 400 genetically diverse varieties of various crops in Afghanistan and subsequent selection and eventual release of improved varieties for cultivation by farmers, has led to improved productivity of crops, wheat in particular.

8. This was all achieved during a period of conflict and hostilities. Mr Tunwar’s accomplishments have been noted by all concerned, especially as they have benefited many Afghan farmers throughout the country. His outstanding technical capabilities, commitment, and desire to assist in the development of the agriculture sector during a difficult period, are exemplary.

Mr James William EVERTS

1. Mr James Everts was born on 12 February 1947 in the Netherlands. He has several academic degrees from universities in that country: a degree in Tropical Agriculture from the School for Tropical Agriculture in Deventer, a degree in Biology from Groningen University, and from Wageningen University, a Master of Science degree in Biology and a Doctorate (Ph.D.) in Toxicology.

2. He began his career as a project manager in the field of ecotoxicology of tsetse control in West Africa, under the auspices of Wageningen University. Following this field work, Mr Everts served as a lecturer in the Department of Toxicology of that university for the next ten years, with several consultancies for FAO, WHO and IAEA during this period. In 1990, he was named Head of an ecotoxicological research unit for the Ministry of Water Management in the Netherlands.

3. Mr Everts joined FAO in 1994 as Project Manager/Chief Technical Adviser for several consecutive projects in Senegal:

He recently joined the Plant Protection Service in FAO’s Agriculture Department.

4. Mr Everts helped to establish a research and training centre in Senegal, in a field that was virtually new to the country: the environmental toxicology of pesticides. The centre (Locustox) has trained a group of Senegalese experts in environmental ecotoxicology (chemical analyses, aquatic and terrestrial ecotoxicology, and human toxicology), with an emphasis on operationality in the field; established a fully equipped chemical and biological laboratory, linked to the Plant Protection Directorate of the Ministry; trained a team of extension workers to train (in turn) farmers, technicians and decision makers in ecotoxicology; and evaluated, for their side-effects, through field studies and local bioassays, all pesticides recommended by FAO for use against Desert Locust. The results of this work have been published and integrated into the recommendations by the Pesticide Referee Group of FAO.

5. Mr Everts and his co-workers have extensively published their research, which is of great value to scientists and government workers dealing with ecotoxicology in the Sahel. They have also applied valuable judgement in making recommendations on pesticide use and ecotoxicological effects of pesticide use, in particular in FAO-led locust control operations in Madagascar.

6. After the establishment of this centre of expertise, Mr Everts was instrumental in obtaining the support of the Government, the donor and FAO to privatize it as a foundation with a public mission; extend its scope of expertise to all pesticides; and meet international quality standards.

7. The newly created Foundation CERES-Locustox/Centre de Recherches en Ecotoxicologie pour le Sahel is operational, and has partners and clients at local, national, regional and international levels, including farmers’ organizations, international NGOs, the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), a regional IPM programme (with the Global IPM Facility – GIF) and a regional programme on community-based water biodiversity conservation in the Senegal River and the Niger.

8. The Foundation has the infrastructure, equipment and capability to provide scientific advice and information on ecotoxicology not only to the Government of Senegal, but also to the other CILSS (Comité Inter-Etat de Lutte contre la Sécheresse au Sahel) member countries. This information is required when evaluating pesticide use, taking into account human health and the environment.

9. Today, the Foundation CERES-Locustox is the only African institution of its kind that has been certified as a Laboratory of Good Practices (“Domaine 6”) of OECD by the Comité Français d’Accréditation (CORAC/GIPC). The Foundation now holds a key position in the area of certification of agricultural exports to international markets, not only within Senegal, but also in the sub-region.

10. The establishment of this Foundation in Senegal was made possible thanks to the effective interaction of a highly qualified national team with the support of international project staff. Mr Everts played a crucial role in realizing these achievements, owing to his unique intellectual, managerial and leadership skills. He has shown a high level of professional ability and interpersonal skills. Through his personal commitment, this innovative programme has become an example for other regions in the world.


1 The B.R. Sen Award Screening Committee is chaired by the Deputy Director-General, and comprises the Assistant Directors-General of the headquarters’ departments as well as the Legal Counsel, and the Directors of TCO and TCA.